Expert warns of major earthquake in Tekirdag province
“The destructive power of the Tekirdag earthquake will be equal to magnitude 9. While the power to be released in the expected Istanbul earthquake will be equivalent to 4.3 atomic bombs, it will be 24 atomic bombs for the expected Tekirdag tremor,” geophysics engineer Ovgon Ahmet Ercan told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on the sidelines of a panel in the Marmara Ereglisi district of Tekirdag on Thursday.
Ercan emphasized that Edirne and Kirklareli provinces, Tekirdag’s western neighbors, are the safest places in terms of the earthquake, while the districts of Ergene, Sharkoy and Marmara Ereglisi are the most dangerous areas where construction should not be allowed.
Turkey is among the world's most seismically active zones as it is situated on several active fault lines, with the most potentially devastating being the Northern Anatolia Fault (NAF), the meeting point of the Anatolian and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Last month, 116 people died when a 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the western province of Izmir. The disaster put an expected “big one” predicted to strike Istanbul, the country’s most populated city, in the spotlight again. Experts often warn that an earthquake with a magnitude higher than 7.0 will hit the city in the near future.
The country has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past, including the 7.4 magnitude earthquake centered in northwestern Izmit in 1999 that killed more than 17,800 people in the greater region.
Speaking about the previous earthquake, Ercan said geophysical engineers in 1982 foresaw the deadly tremor in Izmit. “When I applied my algorithm in 1982, I said that there could be an earthquake at any moment after 1994. Then, with a delay of five years, the 1999 earthquake occurred, and we lost about 17, 800 people,” he said.
Experts say all forecasts and fault line movements point to an inevitable earthquake of at least 7.0 magnitude, but no technology exists to predict its time or epicenter. Areas near the coasts of the city remain most vulnerable due to active fault lines traversing the Marmara Sea.